Common heartburn drugs associated with early death in a new study
Heartburn medicines, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), may increase the risk of life-threatening conditions, according to new research(a new study suggestion).
Over the counter (OTC), as well as prescription drugs, may increase the risk of heart disease, stomach cancer and kidney failure, among other health problems. Research suggests that a person’s risk increases the time he or she takes the drug, even at low doses.
Examples include Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, and Prevacid. The results showed that for every 1,000 people, 45 excess deaths were attributable to the long-term use of PPI. A 17 percent increased risk of death was observed in the PPI group.
What do these results mean for people taking heartburn? And what can you do if you suffer from chronic heartburn? To discuss.
How many people have heartburn and what causes it?
Gastric acidity is very common and heartburn drugs are among the most common drugs in the United States, with up to 10% of adults taking drugs for this problem. Up to 60 percent of people will experience symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) sometime in the next year
Esophageal reflux is referred to as acid reflux and results from the appearance of gastric acid in the esophagus. If this happens only occasionally, it is usually referred to as heartburn, but if it is chronic, it is likely to be diagnosed as GERD.
Some people get stomach upset due to certain foods or beverages (think of spicy or alcohol-rich foods) while others are preparing to develop the condition because of other factors such as smoking or weight gain. Intestinal acidity can be the result of pregnancy or stress. There are even some drugs known to cause heartburn.
A low, long-term dose of heartburn medicines “unsafe”
The latest study showed evidence that prescription heartburn medicines are not the only ones that increase the risk of serious health conditions – even over-the-counter medications at low doses appear to be a problem.
What is interesting is that the study noted that many people (more than half of them in the study) do not actually need these drugs, although the authors did not notice why these subjects were prescribed for these drugs. The most interesting thing is that deaths associated with PPI use were higher in people who took PPIs without the medical need to do so.
The lead researcher, Dr. Ziad Al Ali, claims that the use of these drugs should be restricted and that they contribute to thousands of deaths each year. It also claims that it should not be used for more than 14 days and that ingestion over a period of months or years – even when taking low doses – is not simply safe.